2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Atlanta: Justin Barcia leapfrogs the Big Three
With a streak of six top-five finishes and podiums in his last three races, Justin Barcia tops the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after the Atlanta round. As the three title contenders, Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb and Chase Sexton, pay close attention to one another, it has allowed the field to close the distance in recent weeks.
Barcia adjusted his setup slightly following the Daytona Supercross race and snapped a string of five races outside the top five. Since then, he’s gained confidence and speed with each round. In the past three races, the title contenders have failed to stand on the podium at least once each, while Barcia has been a permanent fixture on the box, usually after recording an equally strong run in his heat. Following the Atlanta race, Barcia said he is at one with his GasGas bike and felt like one of the Na’vi from “Avatar” fame. That connection is serving him well.
Just when it seemed he was falling out of contention for the 2023 Supercross title, Sexton rode a mistake free race in Atlanta and closed the points’ gap significantly with his third win of the season. Four rounds remain and 17 points are going to be difficult to erase against two riders who rarely struggle in back-to-back races, but Sexton has served notice he will not concede the title without making it challenging.
Webb won his heat last week and seemed to have the right setup for the tricky Atlanta track, but a poor start in the main and his second consecutive fourth-place finish hurt him in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. That came on the heels of a less than stellar effort in the Glendale Triple Crown where he scored only one podium in three features. This is just the second time this season that Webb finished off the podium in consecutive races, however, and the last time that happened he scored his first win in Tampa and kicked off a streak of seven straight podiums.
Atlanta was not kind to Tomac in either race. After getting pushed wide by Barcia in his heat, Tomac rallied to finish fourth but another bad start in the main trapped him outside the top five to start. He moved up through the field, but when he got to Webb’s back tire, he stalled out as the two lost ground with the leaders. Tomac finished fifth, one spot behind Webb. Looking at the big picture, Tomac was happy to lose only one point to his primary challenger, but a six-point gap with four rounds remaining is not enough of a cushion to make him comfortable.
Ken Roczen rounds out the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Atlanta with his third podium. He and Barcia are in a tight battle for fourth in the standings and while Barcia has momentum for now, Roczen has been one of the most consistent riders in the field with 11 results of third through eighth in the first 13 rounds. His outliers are an 11th at Oakland which is offset by a win in Detroit.
Is Hunter Lawrence better than his brother Jett Lawrence? That question will begin to get answered next week in East Rutherford, New Jersey as the 250 division has their first East/West Showdown. For now, the SuperMotocross Power Rankings gives him the slight advantage following Atlanta because Hunter was perfect on the long, tricky course. He won both his heat and main by sizeable margins. Hunter has been on the podium in 10 straight heats and mains combined and is in a class of his own in the 250 East division.
Nate Thrasher had a perfect day going in Atlanta until the final two minutes of the main. A hard crash dislocated his hip and broke his collarbone. The injury will require surgery and it is unclear when he will return to action, but a victory in his heat and strong performances overall in the past 90 days keeps him relatively high in the rankings.
Thrasher’s crash in the Atlanta main opened the door for Haiden Deegan and he charged through it to a third-place finish. He now has three podiums in his last four races, eclipsing the career mark of his famous father Brian Deegan. At the start of the season, Haiden wasn’t even certain he would race in the 250 class this year and now he is embroiled in a spirited battle for second in the championship with Max Anstie, who currently trails by 10.
Jordon Smith joined Lawrence and Deegan on the podium last week in Atlanta and that helped him climb three positions overall in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings. The last time these two riders were on the track together before the Atlanta main, Deegan made an aggressive block pass on his teammate that frankly could have gone better. All has been forgiven until they run into one another again.
Statistically speaking, Max Anstie is still reeling from his Lap 2 crash in the Detroit main that sent him to the hauler with a 22nd-place finish. He still has a shot at second in the points’ standings and with Lawrence reportedly joining his brother in the 450 class for 2024, the battle to be the presumptive favorite for next season takes on an added significance. Anstie told NBC Sports earlier this season that “you can’t skip steps”, and one of those steps is a 250 championship.
|1.||Hunter Lawrence - E||91.00||1||0|
|2.||Jett Lawrence - W||90.29||2||0|
|3.||Nate Thrasher - E|
|4.||Levi Kitchen - W||79.57||4||0|
|5.||Haiden Deegan - E||78.94||6||1|
|6.||Jordon Smith - E||78.60||9||3|
|7.||Cameron McAdoo - W|
|8.||RJ Hampshire - W||77.71||8||0|
|9.||Pierce Brown - W||75.86||10||1|
|10.||Max Anstie - E||75.06||11||1|
|11.||Jeremy Martin - E||73.88||7||-4|
|12.||Mitchell Oldenburg - W||69.29||13||1|
|13.||Tom Vialle - E||68.75||12||-1|
|14.||Chris Blose - E||68.06||15||1|
|15.||Enzo Lopes - W||67.57||14||-1|
|16.||Chance Hymas - E||67.10||16||0|
|17.||Max Vohland - W||65.92||17||0|
|18.||Michael Mosiman - E||65.80||18||0|
|19.||Derek Kelley - W||59.36||19||0|
|20.||Carson Mumford - W||59.17||20||0|
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 12 AT GLENDALE: Eli Tomac gains momentum
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 11 AT SEATTLE: Cooper Webb, Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT DETROIT: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Sexton, Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage